Blackhawks News & Rumours: Delia, Connolly, World Juniors


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Despite the current pause in league activity, let alone the NHLs withdrawal from the 2022 Winter Olympics, there is still Chicago Blackhawks content to keep fans occupied in the meantime. Not all that is deemed newsworthy deserves to be celebrated, but there are some items that should be.

RELATED: Marc-Andre Fleurys Case as a Hall of Famer

Here to keep you caught up as we anticipate the unravelling of even more updates, this is the latest edition of Blackhawks News & Rumours.

Delia Credited With a Goalie Goal

Helping his Rockford IceHogs better the Texas Stars by making 24 stops in their 3-1 victory on Dec. 18 clearly wasnt enough for Collin Delia. So he took things a step further and score the first-ever goalie goal for the IceHogs, becoming the 16th netminder in American Hockey League (AHL) history to do so.

Collin Delia, Rockford IceHogs
Collin Delia, Rockford IceHogs (Todd Reicher/Rockford IceHogs)

That said, its safe to say that the play didnt unfold in the way Delia would have dreamt up when thinking of scoring from his own crease.

Basically, Delia was the last IceHog to touch the puck when he made a late-period save to shut down the incoming fury from the Stars, who had an extra attacker out with their goalie pulled. It was that same scenario that worked against Texas in this respect, as their own players attempted pass ended up heading all the way down the ice and into their own net.

Regardless of how it all transpired, the reality is that Delia now has a goal to his credit on his player profile. With the Blackhawks having lost their last two in overtime, perhaps encouraging some added offense that originates from between their own pipes is a strategy worth exploring when gameplay resumes.

Connolly Suspended by NHL Player Safety

Although Brett Connollys positive impact was noted as being key to his recent call-up, he seemed to let his drive reach a gear it shouldnt have in Chicagos Dec. 18 contest against the Dallas Stars.

Connolly executed a dangerous hit on Dallas Tanner Kero, which resulted in Kero being taken off the ice on a stretcher before heading to the hospital. There are no excuses for such unnecessary contact and Connollys four-game suspension should help support that stance.

With that said, it seems that most can agree that Connolly is not the type whos out to injure. That commentary elevates to an even higher volume when it comes from the opposition.

I know Brett Connolly, Bowness said. I coached him in Tampa. Hes a great kid.

Regardless of anyones thoughts on Connolly or the hit, the focus should remain on Kero and his recovery. Hopefully, hes back on the ice sooner than later, with no lasting impact from this unfortunate scenario.

Blackhawks Prospects Participating in 2022 World Juniors

Its that time of the year, again. Hockey supporters get to elevate their fandom throughout the holiday season thanks to the World Junior Championship. Its expected that onlookers will witness the NHLs next set of stars shine bright, as a precursor to what theyll achieve in the pros.

Some of todays most successful Blackhawks represented their country at this tournament, before ever making the mark that they now have in the NHL. Future Hall of Famers Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Marc-Andr Fleury had all influenced podium finishes well before hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Derek King on Jonathan Toews saying he wants to improve: “He puts a lot of pressure on himself. He has high standards. There’s a reason why he’s won those Cups and he’s been on Team Canadas and World Juniors and he’s the captain of your team. He’s a very focused guy.” #Blackhawks

Having prospects perform well in this competition is a benefit to every respective franchise. The Blackhawks are hoping that the four they have participating will reach levels of success that foreshadow what theyll infuse into Chicagos lineup in the years to come.

Most of that talent will represent a single nation, with Drew Commesso (G), Wyatt Kaiser (D), and Landon Slaggert (LW/C) suiting up for Team USA. Not to be overlooked, Michael Krutil (D) will also be there on behalf of Czechia.

Landon Slaggert, Team USA
Landon Slaggert, Team USA (Credit: Rena Laverty/USA Hockeys NTDP)

Slaggert and Krutil are familiar with what this tournament entails, while it will be the first such experience for Commesso and Kaiser.

Commesso was initially slated to take part last year, but was deemed unfit to play before the tournament began. Hopefully, that further fuels the netminder this time around, so he can showcase a level of skill that makes all those who passed on the former second-round pick regret ever doing so.

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All the while, any amount of winning that Commesso is able to encourage only further supports the Blackhawks decision to select him 46th overall in 2020.




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